Bruschetta-style asparagus appetizer
Nothing says spring like asparagus! For this starter, roasted asparagus is tossed with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. It's served warm on toasted baguette, and topped with toasted pine nuts for crunch. It makes an excellent appetizer for a spring soiree or brunch. Makes about 28 pieces.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 14 people
- 12 ounces thin asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces, woody ends removed
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided + extra for lightly oiling bread
- Pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped small
- 2 small cloves garlic minced
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 baguette cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices*
- 4 ounces cashew cheese** optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put asparagus pieces on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and toss with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the pieces evenly across the baking sheet. Put the asparagus in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through for even browning. (If it isn't browned and ready at 15 minutes, cook for an additional 5 minutes.)
In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar, basil, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Set aside.
Bring a non-stick skillet to a medium heat. Put the pine nuts in the skillet and toast for 3-5 minutes, flipping the pine nuts half-way through, so that they are evenly browned. Once they have browned, remove them from heat.
Lightly oil the baguette slices with additional extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Line them on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven to bake for the last 5 minutes of the asparagus roasting. Remove the bread slices and asparagus from the oven. Put the bread slices on a serving platter. Add the asparagus pieces to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
If desired, slather each slice of toasted baguette with a mild & spreadable cashew cheese. It's not essential, but it does help the asparagus to stick to the bread. If you'd prefer a lighter appetizer, skip this step.
Top each toasted baguette slice with generous spoonfuls of the asparagus mixture. On top of the asparagus mixture, add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
*You may not need the entire baguette. There is enough asparagus mixture for about 28 baguette slices.
**A slathering of mild, spreadable cashew cheese helps the asparagus to stick to the bread. It also adds additional deliciousness! I recommend a mild cashew cheese like Treeline herb-garlic or Miyoko's plain cream cheese.
Calories: 71kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.1mg